Understanding Legal Responsibilities for Fire Regulations
Owning a property or a business means that you have a number of important obligations and legal regulations. Some of these will undoubtedly refer to fire safety and fire awareness and training, and it is vital that you understand what these responsibilities are and why they are important to the building or business that you own.
There are several types of properties that must have certain fire safety protocols and equipment in place, such as hospitals, public buildings, houses of multiple occupancy, and schools, to name just a few. The regulations stipulate that there must be fire escape routes, fire doors in certain areas of a building, and other fire safety protocols. This all comes from The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
There will be a person who is legally responsible for all aspects of fire safety for a building. As the owner of a building this could be your responsibility. Alternatively, it could be the responsibility of an employer with members of staff working for them, the manager of a public building, or the person in control of a business on a day-to-day basis. With this responsibility comes the awareness of all fire safety issues within your building. There could even be multiple people responsible for fire safety, depending on the size and scale of a building or business.
If you are in charge of fire safety for a building you must put together an extensive fire risk assessment, that looks at all aspects of the building, the various potential threats of fire, escape routes, number of people in the building at any given time of day, and all other associated risks. A legal requirement is that there should be a written fire risk assessment on the site of a property at all times for any business that employs 4 or more people. This assessment should list all potential fire safety hazards, and the procedures that must be followed in the event of a fire.
Fire risk assessments must be carried out regularly to ensure that if any changes are required, they can be performed as quickly and efficiently as possible. It also gives a chance to investigate whether the changes requested after the last fire risk assessment have been carried out at all, or carried out to the necessary standards. This is also a great chance to train people who are new to the building, as well as re-educate those who need a refresher course. All fire doors, escape routes, and other fire safety equipment should be checked to be in working order at this point of a fire risk assessment.
There are different levels of risks associated with different types of fire risks, and as the person responsible for fire safety within a building, it is important that you have a clear head and a clear idea of which level of fire risk to associate with each potential hazard. Over time you’ll become used to conducting fire risk assessments, devising a plan of action, and implementing that plan of action. It is a positive habit to get into, with the safety of real people in your hands.